IAN Evatt believes there is more tactical variety in lower league football than ever before.

After winning the National League with Barrow and then guiding Wanderers to promotion from League Two, Evatt says he is now enjoying the challenge of League One.

In his playing days with Derby, Blackpool, QPR and Chesterfield, Evatt competed in all four divisions, and from his early years in management he has already witnessed a shift in approach from teams at this end of the league.

“The game is changing and there has to be some fluidity to the way you play,” he told The Bolton News.

“I think part of it is that people want to be entertained these days, it isn’t just about 4-4-2, playing for territory and set plays, sticking it in the channels and all that. Nobody wants to see that any more, and if you do play that way you’d better be winning because the minute you are not, you are under pressure.

“The best thing I can say – and this isn’t me blowing my own trumpet. But if you asked any other team or manager who have played us, they would say we were well-coached.

“That, of course, isn’t just down to me. It’s Peter Atherton, Sam Hird, the other lads on the training ground who work really hard to get those details into the players.

“We have a brand of playing and we need to make sure those players know what to do.

“Sometimes we will get found out with other things – like this season we have been beaten up a couple of times, physically dominated. We have conceded from set plays and we haven’t done enough from set plays ourselves.

“But when you talk about moving the ball around and dominating games, having good rotation and patterns of play, then in my opinion we’re right up there.”

Evatt has had to have some flexibility in his own team’s approach, of late, with injuries forcing him to move away from four at the back.

In the last few games he has juggled between 3-4-3 and 4-3-3, depending on availability and opposition, and admits he has had to think on his feet a few times in the technical area.

“It’s just tactical bingo, really,” he laughed.

“I know fans will have opinions on what formations they would like to see but realistically it isn’t about having a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D – it’s about having a very good Plan A.

“When it isn’t working for you, then it is about tweaking that system and making adjustments. The philosophy will always stay the same, we want to control the ball, we want possession, build from the back and create opportunities that way.

“We can change formations if it is needed and I had a lot of success at Barrow playing 3-5-2 but I actually prefer 4-3-3. I’d started at Barrow with that system but had to change it and had loads of success.

“When I came to Bolton I started with the 3-5-2 and didn’t do so well but went to 4-3-3 and got results again.

“Now we have had all these injuries hit us at the same time I am looking at the fit players I have got available and thinking ‘how many round pegs can I fit in round holes?’ “This formation seems to suit us the best at the moment, so whether it is three or four it won’t really matter to the type of football we are looking to play. The identity will remain the same out there, it is just how we look at space on the pitch and whether we have to move a few of them around.”